Council adopts 7% rate rise
Council has adopted an average 7% rate rise for the coming 2023/24 financial year down from 8% as proposed in the draft Annual Plan.
Mayor Weston Kirton said that the 1% drop from the initially proposed 8% average rate rise represented around $250,000 which Council would now need to find in operational savings.
“Due to underlying inflation and other pressures, the starting point for the rate rise was 25% and Council staff needed to work hard to find spending reductions to get down to the proposed 8% which was consulted on.
Despite the challenges in finding the savings to get down to 8% elected members felt it was important to recognise community feedback and the economic pressures they are currently facing and voted for a further 1% reduction,” he said.
Chief Executive Clive Manley said that finding another $250,000 in savings will not be easy without putting pressure on Council's ability to maintain existing levels of service.
“Increases in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by the Reserve Bank to combat inflation meant we required a 6% rate rise for higher interest payments before we even started to cover supplier contract commitments and other factors.
Having only 1% to cover other cost increases means we have absolutely no 'wriggle room' for any new initiatives or requirements that may come up.
Council staff will now need be tasked with reworking their budgets to cover the additional $250,000 in savings we now need to find.
As rating levels carry forward year-to-year whatever savings we can make to cover the shortfall need to be sustainable into the future.
A number of the suggested ways to achieve savings will require changes to our Long Term Plan and other policies which can be considered when we consult next year on the Long Term Plan.
We urge people to engage with next years Long Term Plan process so we can better understand the community’s key needs and wants before the consultation issues are confirmed,” he said.